Tag Archives: Practice writing

NaNo -NaNo Day 1: Let’s do this

Genre: YA fiction
Time: 1986
First Draft during 2013 NaNo challenge.

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Wendy was my best friend. If I could actually say I had any best friends I would give that title to Wendy, but in truth, I never wanted a best friend. I don’t need one, but Wendy does, and she’s a good girl so we stick together. We’re both losers. None of the other kids at school want to hang out with us, and that’s A-OK with me. I know it hurts Wendy, but the kids are all mean to her so I can understand why it bothers her. Before me she didn’t have any friends. It’s not her fault. She’s got maybe the worst home in our town, but kids don’t care about that stuff at least the parts that matter about that stuff, like how your parents treat you or raise you or if they do some terrible things to you. Kids just care about if you’re normal or not. If your not normal you suck and if you are normal you need to be the right kind of normal. They all suck.

I used to have a lot of friends. I grew up on the ridge in a big house, and we had two cars, and cable as soon as it came to our town, and we had a VCR before anyone else on the street, and my dad had the best stereo system on the block. Our town is really small. There are only two elementary schools. The schools separate the kids who live on the north ridge canyon from the south ridge canyon. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the north or the south both parts have people that have more money than anyone that lives in the foothills. My dad told me that money is not the most important thing in life that family is and besides all the people who live in Ridgetown think they are rich but they don’t have squat. I know this is true because my dad would take us to San Francisco twice a year to visit his brother who was a lawyer and they would take us to places where the richest people would eat and play. It was cool at the time because my parents would buy clothes for my brother and me and I would always have clothes that no other girl would have. This made me popular, plus because I lived on the ridge and my parents would host parties for other parents and kids in the neighborhood and we’d had Halloween and Christmas parties every year since I was little. My friend’s and I knew how our lives were going to be. We would go to Ridgeview elementary and then go to Ridgeview middle school where we would be put with the kids from South Ridgeview elementary which would be great because there would be new boys and when we were thirteen we knew we would want to meet new boys, then we would go to Ridgeview High School, and we’d probably be cheerleaders or do a sport or be in choir and then we’d be adults and that just meant we’d have our own family and have some kind of work that gave us money to live like our parents, but we didn’t think much about it because we just wanted to be teenagers and go to high school where things were going to be out of this world fun.

But then my brother died. Then after that my mother died. My father might as well of died. One night, he woke me and put my in our truck and he drove me up to the Pines, the small mountain town above Ridgeview where my grandparents lived. It was nighttime and it was dark and cold. He put me on the porch. I stood there shivering and holding onto my comforter as I watched him put boxes of my stuff on the porch around my body like he was building a fortress around me. I didn’t know why or when he had packed up my things. The lights from my grandparents house flickered on and my dad worked faster. I had managed to mumble, “Daddy, what are we doing?” He didn’t even look at me he just kept dropping things onto the porch and then he climbed back into the truck as my grandma and Grandpa opened the door to see their son slam the door of his truck and drive off. My grandmother managed to yell out, “Steven?” As he pulled out of the gravel driveway with my grandpa in nothing but a white tee shirt boxers a terrycloth maroon robe and pink slippers chased after him. I remember thinking two things. One, I had hoped that my grandpa didn’t have a heart attack and two, why do grandpas all seem to sleep in the same exact thing? That was the last time I saw my dad and that was a year ago the summer before my fifth grade year.

It wasn’t just these things that made me stop having friends.I think for a normal kids moving from the Ridge to the Pines would suck because you have to say good-bye to your friend’s but like I said our town was small and kids from all the other small towns went to the schools in Ridgeview. The Pines still fell into the same district as the North Ridge so as my grandma said, I’d still get to go to the same school so I would at least have my friends. At least. People didn’t stop liking me because my brother died or because my mom died or because my dad totally ditched me. Kids are cruel, but that’s way too below the belt and besides I was popular since kindergarten. You don’t know you’re popular but when you’re in third grade and you look back when you were a kid in Kindergarten and you remember that you always had other kids sleeping around you during nap time you know you’re liked. That was me. I stopped having friends because I stopped wanting them. If you want some good solid enemies tell them that you don’t like them anymore and that’s the best way to do it. Why would I not friends when it would seem like I need them? Because I wasn’t feeling better fast enough. Most kids here that I new all had both sets of grandparents unless a grandpa died young in one of the wars that happened before we were born. The worst thing that happened was if someone’s parents got divorced. That was seriously bad, and we’d huddle around our friend consoling her like her parents had died. Then someone did die. Someone young, my brother and someone beautiful my mother, and they tried to huddle around me and console me like my parents had gotten a divorce. Then my dad abandoned me. At first they tried to be there but what could they do? So they waited for me to feel better and when after a couple of months I stopped feeling better they got impatient. Then I started painting my nails black, and they got uncomfortable, and I started wearing black and they didn’t agree, and then it happened one of the mom’s said, “Brianna is going into her dark phase.” And, then one kid said, “When are you going to be normal again?” And another kid said, “You’re totally getting weird.” And then I got mad because when your brother dies then your mom, and then your dad leaves your supposed to get over it, and go back to shopping with your friends and not be so depressing all the time. And then when some snotty kid that used to be your friend in class says, “you just want attention cause you mommy died,” you say something. I screamed, “Fuck you!” And then I got taken to the principal where they asked me how an eleven year old girl learns such bad words and I told them Showtime, and they suspended me, but just for a day because of the sad circumstances of my life. And because now I’m dark and I say bad words I’m bad, and when kids that were my friends try to tease me at school and I jump on that kids back and scream and hit him and make him cry. I get sent home from school for three days because even though my circumstances are bad they can’t condone my behavior. And soon kids stop teasing me because they know I’ll hit them, and they know I’ll say a bad word to them because I don’t care and the teachers wonder if I’ll get better, and my old friends decide to snicker out or arms reach, but they never call me a looser because they know they’ll get. I’ll take a tooth or half their hair they’ll get it. So they leave me alone and they forget I was their friend and we had the best Halloween parties on the block. They forget my mom died. They forget my brother died and my father is gone. They forget they just see “not normal.” But they know they’ll get it if they make me mad they’ll get it good.

The only good thing about school was that it got me away from my grandparents house. They were really old even for grandparents. They had my dad later in life as my dad would say. I think my grandma was forty or something so my grandparents were like twenty years older than my friends grandparents. They were nice but they were not ready for a girl that was about to start her period any day now. They also were not ready to have their only son disappear off the face of the world. For a whole year they told me that my dad was grieving and that he would be back. I stopped listening. I think my grandma still says it but my grandpa doesn’t say anything he just watches the news. I’m not bad to my grandparents. In fact, I don’t do anything, but write in my diary, draw pictures and go for walks. I could do bad things if I wanted to because I know there are bad kids at school. Some of the other sixth graders that have bad homes and who can get cigarettes and smoke, but I don’t care about them or anything. If I was a bad kid I don’t know what they’d do maybe try to send me away or something or put me into foster care where some of the bad kids go, but only I fight at school when someone gets in my face, and no one gets in my face.

“Do you think Mrs. Crabtree is going to let us have a Halloween party in class this year?” Wendy and I were sitting on one of the outdoor lunch tables at school watching some kids play kick ball.

“Marissa said in class that Halloween is for babies and anyone that dresses up is a baby. Then she asked me what I was gonna be for Halloween and then she laughed at me.” She said.

“What do you care what stupid Marissa thinks? I know she’s just being dumb and trying to bug you because she’s gonna dress up. Everyone dresses up. She’s just probably trying to get you to not dress up to make fun of you. No matter what she’s gonna try to make fun of you.” I rubbed some dirt off the canvas of my black tennis shoes. “You should just tell her to fuck it.”

Wendy was always shocked if I used a bad word. It didn’t matter if it was the word fuck or ass or shit or fart head. She’s suck in her breath like she’d been punched in the stomach and she’d cover her mouth as if my bad words could get in her head that way. It wasn’t like she didn’t hear the worst most baddest words ever coming from her mom and step dad every single day. Some of my best words come from her mom when she’s screaming at Wendy. “I can’t say that. I can never say that. I’d get sent home and me mom would kill me.”

That was true Wendy’s mom would kill her.

No One Said Life Was Fair

“Some of us are born losers.” My mother said, “but not you honey, no, you’re special.

It was the 80’s, and I was in high school. I wasn’t exactly sure where her words were coming from, but I could guess. She had just lost her job or maybe it was her boyfriend or maybe both. Something prompted her to say it. Maybe it was me. Maybe I was crying. I cried a lot in high school. Maybe I asked her why something didn’t work out for her; why those people at the store sneered when she took out her food stamps; why we never had any money; how come the IRS was auditing her, a poor woman, who made less than 10,000.00 a year, and not some rich white man who made over 10,000.00 a month.

“Life is not fair!”

“No one said life is fair. Life.” She paused and I could see the pain and sadness in her face. “Life is not fair honey. Life is hard.”

 

The day I got attacked at school by a group of four or five kids I decided I was ready to throw the towel in on this whole life thing.

“Kids are mean.” My mother said. “They’re just jealous.” She said. “You’re so beautiful.” She said.

“You say that because you’re my mom.”

“That’s not true.” She was shocked that I would accuse her of such a thing.

But it was true. She did say it because she was my mom. I knew this because we live in a democracy, and the majority rules, and the majority of kids at school said I was scum.

Kids can be so cruel.

I never told her what happened. I never told her about getting held against the lockers. Never told her about hiding under the bathroom sink. I could never explain the level of humiliation. It was too hard to tell her. I felt like too much of a failure. A failure to her, and to her God. If I told her about what was going on at school, what was happening to her baby girl, that her baby was stupid and ugly, that she was scum; trash. I couldn’t tell her God did not look upon me as more special than the neighbor’s kids. I couldn’t tell her that my life was not enough for her to keep on living. If she knew the truth would she die? No, I knew she wouldn’t die, but my pain was too great and I couldn’t carry the hurt she would feel. I knew she would blame herself. She didn’t teach me to be strong. She couldn’t help me. I learned from example. I needed her to find something else worth living for something inside herself.

“God brought you to me, honey.” She touched my face and her eyes sparkled with love. “You’re the only reason I’m alive.”

 

**************

 

I had this dream. A desire. A want. It hit me one day. It hit me hard. I had been out of school for a few years lolling about helpless trying to figure out what to do with my self. I could not for the life of me figure out what I was doing on this planet and then it hit me. I wanted to work for National Geographic. I considered my self a conservationist and a humanitarian, and I grew up with the magazine. My fantasy life began to unfold. There I was traveling, interviewing scientists, trudging through the jungles of exotic landscapes, meeting people of diverse and varied cultures, becoming educated and sharing that education with the world at large. Yes! I was going to write for them. Take amazing cover worthy photographs for them. I would be giving people the opportunity to open a book and discover Macedonia or Jane Goodall or the realities of a nuclear fall out. I was going to go back to school to study writing, and photography and, of course, science.

Sometimes I miss her. Mother. We live so far from each other now. Her love crushes, sometimes, to a point where I can not breath, and I need to be away from her. But, I worry. I worry all the time like she might die. Our relationship is not like in television or in the parenting books, and sometimes I want a mother.

I called to tell her about my new plan for my future.

“Mom, I’m going to work for National Geographic.” I said this after mentioning signing up for science courses.

She is silent on the other side of the phone.

“Mom?”

“What?” She says.

“What do you think?”

“What do I think about what?” She says.

I’m annoyed. “What do you think about my idea?”

“What do I think about your idea? What do I think?”

“Yeah.”

“You want to be a scientist? You? We’ve never been any good at math. You know that. You’ll fail.” She was beginning to yell.

I was silent now. It was the only way I knew how to communicate.

“What!” She barked. “What? Are you mad now?”

“Well, yes, I’m a little upset.”

“Ya, wanted to know what I thought.” She said.

“Well, I didn’t expect you to be so harsh.”

“What did you expect.”

“You’re my mom!” I was yelling now. “You’re suppose to be supportive! It was just an idea.”

“Well how ’bout this: next time you call why don’t you just tell me what you want me to say.”

“Mom, I was trying to tell you what I wanted to do with my life.”

“Life? Do you wanna know what life is?” She asked. Anger and something heavy like a decrepit house shook in her voice. “Life is you’re born poor, you struggle and struggle, and next thing you know you’re old scrubbing some person’s floor as you’re just waiting around to die.”

“I’m not talking to you.” I hung up. I knew she was talking about herself. I knew she was scrubbing people’s floors. I knew she wanted to die. I knew it was about her, but I couldn’t separate us. She said, we’ve never been good at math. She couldn’t separate us.

I never had a mother, I thought this after hanging up the phone. I had an adult child. It was like Mork and Mindy when Jonathan Winters joined the cast only it wasn’t funny. It wasn’t funny when Jonathan Winters joined either.

 

She called the next day.

“Honey, I’m so sorry. It’s my hormones, they’re off. I’m going through menopause. I believe in you. you’d be a great scientist.”

I’d be a terrible scientist. I didn’t want to be a scientist, but it didn’t matter. I would have believed her if she hadn’t been talking this way all my life. Her philosophy has always been life is hard, we are born poor we will die poor; life is not fair and some of us are just born losers. Menopause was only going to make it worse.

**********

My mom’s sister died when I was five. It was an “accidental” suicide. She had hurt her knee and to kill the pain she swallowed a bottle of codeine and washed the pills down with a bottle of vodka. Ta! Dah!

I can still remember the night she died. Mother woke me from sleep, and half carried me to her grey-blue Volkswagen bug. She had loved that bug. I don’t remember the drive. I remember the sound of gravel beneath the tires. I remember my mother’s face terse and strained. I remember the flashing lights sparkling like an amusement park. I remember it was warm out and I was wearing my pjs the one with the built in footies. I was holding my blanket like a doll. My mother pushed me down onto the black vinyl seat. It was the 70’s and children were allowed to ride in the front. She leaned over me and her long blonde hair draped over her face like a veil and cascaded into mine. She was so young then, only 26 or 27. Her hair was golden and the lights from the ambulance and police flooded around her head and reflected against her hair. She was like an angel.

“You keep your head down. Don’t you dare look out the window you understand. You understand?”

I nodded yes. She slammed the door leaving the car rocking gently. I stared up at the tiny dots in the white ceiling cover of the bug and watched as the lights dance as my aunt died.

 

I don’t remember what she looked like, my aunt. She had red hair. I know my mother loved her more than anyone else in the world aside from me. My memories of her are nebulous. I’m not positive they are memories of truth or if they are memories of stories. I think I have a memory of sitting on her lap. The both of us shrouded in white. She said I was like an angel. The freckles on my face were angel kisses. The mark in my eye was a starburst. I was so special God had picked me out and gave me to my mother. I was a beautiful child. We were all angels.

“For some of us honey, life is so hard, and you just get so tired of living, and you just want to go to sleep, just for a little while, and I think that’s what your aunt did. I think she just wanted to take a nap.”

Angels are never alive in the first place.

****************

I hadn’t seen my mother in two years. The last time I saw her she was impoverished with worn holes in her clothing. She lived in a room and took care of an elderly man. The elderly man whom she lived with was like her new child and she loved him dearly. She had always been such a kind woman. After he died my mother was never compensated for her time, and since she had no education, and no back-up she became jobless at 56. She was living with her boyfriend an ex-junkie and an ex-con who for some reason could not work. Something to do with his previous career. Then the stroke happened. The boyfriend forgot to tell me about the stroke. The phone call came weeks later from her.

“I had a stroke. They are going to evict me from my house. Why didn’t you visit me? You don’t love me.” She cried.

“I didn’t know.” I whispered. I didn’t know.

She cried more and more.

I feel helpless when she cries because I can’t take care of her. I’m still poor. I failed her. I followed in her footsteps. Born poor stay poor.

I had a dream I was at my mother’s house and a semi-truck ran purposefully through her house. I managed to jump out of the way, but it ran over her sleeping body.

 

************

She identifies herself through me and I try to separate us. She reaches for me and I can feel her tugging my essence like she’s trying to shove me back inside her. She steps through me and eats me till I feel like there is hardly any of me left and I am her or her sister or her cruel mother. Who am I? Am I my mother? A born loser? Is it only a matter of days till I scrub the floors of other people and wait and pray for death? When I die will I have to apologize to God for being a failure?

 

Conversation with GOD:

“It’s not my fault. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.”

“When are you going to make some money honey? So you can take care of me?” My mother has interrupted my conversation with God.

“You’re not old mom! You’re only in your fifties!”

“But, I made you special,” God says shaking his white glowing orb of a head.

“I know Lord, my mom told me that, but I didn’t feel special. It didn’t protect me and I grew up with majority rules. Special wasn’t enough.”

“Please don’t let me die in a home. Please take care of me when I’m old. Don’t leave me.” Mom is crying again. I hate it when she cries. She doesn’t notice I’m talking to God. She just wants me not God. “I hate it here. I want out of here.”

“I know momma. I’m trying.”

“It’s not fair Lord.” I say.

“Well, honey,” The Lord places his ethereal hands on his omnipotent hips, “who ever told you life was fair?”

“Nobody did.”

He actually looks like a god with the brilliant light shining through his akimbo stance.

The semi-trucks growl in the distance as the houses shake.

 

 

Back to the Short Story Board

It has been awhile since I have touched any of my short stories or worked on anything related to this blog.

I recently pulled out some old work, Gunter McWilliams and Ishi two short stories that I had felt had reached completion and both of which have been rejected. I didn’t send them out to too many places so I’m not heart broken.

I had my friend check them out. She is a great reader and had some interesting feedback.

Gunther is science fiction and was a timed writing for the Short Story writing contest. I came in fifth place which I think is pretty good, but the pages were limited. Now that I have no page limit, my roommate has suggested that I expand on the story. She brought up something I hadn’t noticed, and that was that the character is a bit lecherous, and pathetic, and that I should explore that part of his development more. Of course, I wouldn’ say those traits are actually developments.

The second story Ishi is based in truth, but I have desperately tried to make it a fiction piece. She said it was too broken up that the vignettes worked in the sci fi but not Ishi. I have to tell the truth with this story, as uncomfortable as it is to tell.

I probably wont touch them until my novel’s final draft (I think final) is completed. I have 121 more pages to go.

My Antheneum is coming to an end and what I have learned through this experience is that I write a lot more than I give myself credit. I had no idea that I had managed to write as much as I do, only I want to write more.

Step up to the Plate More Often

This is an image I took in Saigon, Vietnam las...

Image via Wikipedia

I write. I write every day. Still I am not writing enough, not the right writing. I’m journaling every day which certainly has its merits, in fact I would never have written my novel Zizkov if it wasn’t for my daily journaling.

I started a new blog post, that I am only doing for one year. It is about journaling everyday for a year. I decided to do it because I was curious if I could and because one day I wondered; if this was my last year of life what would I do with it, then that translated into, what do I do every day. Sometimes the days just rush and blur.

But, it’s still not enough. I need to be doing more creative writing. Exercising my brain. I’ve decided that at least one day a week I have to write a new flash fiction or timed writing piece or a writing exercise. Once a week. That isn’t that much. I wont have time to go back and flesh anything out until I complete my novel, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the practice.

The more I swing the more times I will hit and eventually I will know the exact speed and curve of the ball.

Ten minutes: What have we done

Photo from the Oregon Coast

I live far from the oil leak, but the images and the damages that are taking place as I write, are so huge, and beyond my reasoning that all I can do is grasp it in a story. I can only imagine what this is like for the people living there. I can only imagine what it must be like to wait for something like this. What have we done? This is just a ten minute write and a fiction piece.

Every day we go to the beach. We walk slowly along the shore pressing the silk like white sand between our toes. I hold up a handful and watch it cascade between my fingers. It is like watching the seconds pass, the clouds in time elapse, everything moving as in a David Lynch film. These are our last minutes. I watch as my children run up to the water and kick up the surf. They laugh raucously in the ways that only children can; uninhibited, free, what we were all meant to be; joyful and filled with belly aching laughter. They don’t understand what is coming. I look to my wife, sitting in the sand, she is watching the water, silently, she has been crying for weeks. She had grown up here this is her beach. We were married on this beach, almost ten years ago. “We never should have had children,” is what she mutter to me in bed one evening as she had turned away from me. “Don’t say such things I had said, why would you say that,” I had asked. “We are leaving them a terrible world,” she said. I said nothing. We try to avoid watching the news, but now we watch every day to see the warnings to know how soon before the black bubbles roll onto the shore, before the stinking molasses runs down our legs in streaks of grime. When the stench will fill our beach, our street, our home. When the birds, smothering in ooze, their red eyes blinded in reek, when the carcasses encased like nightmarish tootsie rolls, appear at the edge of our doorsteps. How will we explain all the death?

“I feel like I am in a movie”. My wife spoke toward the sea, some how this disaster has effected our marriage, for some reason the oil is separating us. I had looked at the photos, and photos of the birds, and felt as if the oil had coated our house, that those gasping gulls were my children, that the suffocating crude was seeping into my bed covering us. I am useless as a man as a father as a husband in the face of this, all I can do is watch as my children run into the ocean on the last days of life as we know it here.

“It is out there,” she said, “coming, moving, like it is breathing on its own. It is coming to kill all of us and everything. We are going to be like the science fiction movies where there is nothing left, we will be brutalized.”

“No we wont.” I whispered. She looked to me her eyes glaring. She blames me, her eyes and her anger blames me for the accident, as if I single-handedly broke the pipe and released the monster. A part of me felt she was right, that we should not have brought children into this world, that we are irresponsible that we are selfish that we damage all we touch and then we offer it up to our children to clean. They will not have the same freedoms or the same beauties that we had. We broke and torched it all, we did, and our parents, and our grandparents, all for the sake of comfortable lifestyles with no regard or true care for the people, the animals or the environments that we exploited on the way. We chose to ignore the damages done in other places, we couldn’t see it so it wasn’t real. Until it is real, and then there is no stopping it.

A cool breeze blew in off the sea as birds cawed and dove up into the clouds. A hint of gasoline  drifted and ran through my hair like sultry fingers. My wife’s dark hair lifted from her shoulders in the gentle breeze. Our children giggled and waved their hands at their noses.

“It’s here”. She said. “The End”.

Setting Bolder Goals

I have just been accepted into a writing program. I’m very excited to grow as a writer. One of the things about this particular program that I like is that you have to set goals. I haven’t started the course yet, but I know based on the curriculum that what you need to be succesful in the program is to have goals. Here are mine: During the program I want to complete my editing of my first novel and I want to begin the processes of getting it published. By the end of the program I would like to have the beginning outline for my next book and I would like to have a strong selection of short stories for which I can put together a collection of short stories.

Based on my ten minute writes that I have done on this blog, I want to work on Sand and WheatGunther McWilliams, and the one about the abonne, the old man and the woman in the garden in Brooklyn, The Chinamanthe girl with the bright red handsThe Appalachian Girl and Touch and Lewis. There may be some others. My goal for this blog and its loose purpose is to do bi-weekly ten minute writes for more inspired ideas. After a month I need to pick one and get to work.

I sound like I know what is up, but I don’t.

The mean old lady-ten minutes

I had no idea where this one was going. I just had the first sentence pop into my head and kept going. The old lady just manifested out of the words. That’s the most interesting about doing timed writing. If you don’t allow yourself to stop, you sometimes get characters or settings that you pull from the folds of your brain. The title, which is pretty weak, came after my writing time was up. I decided to indent or quote the first paragraph after I had written it because the first part sounded like it was in third person, but at this point I don’t want to do any editing, still, looking at the first sentence this piece could have gone anywhere.

It was a blue day in sunnside, the raspberries had gone moldy and there was none left to eat. Tomorrow there would be more picking but the bush had been raped from the children that walked by on their way to the bus stop.

It bothered me that they would greedily take from the only raspberry bush. They had no consideration, children never did.  I had a good mind to call up every single one of their no good parents, but what was the use their parents were no good. They just sit about on their porches as the children go wild like animals, meaty animals. The entire neighborhood has been over run with these young families, people who have no idea how to take care of anything, let their dogs and cats and wild animal children run about creating a mess and eating all my raspberries. I throw chicken bones out in the street for their pets, I only wish the damn kids would eat one of them bones and choke.

Things were different when I was a young woman, we didn’t let our kids run around like they do know, we disciplined those kids of ours not let them run loose and destroy a neighborhood, all those kids are going to turn out to be nothing but criminals. Capital C criminals. I just don’t know what has gone wrong in this world. Something is wrong when kids are stealing an old woman’s raspberries, when their dogs are running loose and wild and a woman’s own kids wont even come to see her. I think there is something wrong with the whole country. My own kids got sick or something with whatever is wrong now a days. You should see how they go about disciplining their own children, let them act like animals. I don’t even like them. My daughter, my youngest she don’t even come and see me, says I was mean to her, I don’t know how she got so spoiled, must have been her father’s fault, he was after all a weak man. Damn if I didn’t marry a weak man and all that weakness soaked up into all my kid’s blood. If it wasn’t for the vow I made unto God that I would stay by that man, I swear I would have left him, god awful being, and sad miserable excuse for a man. He is probably burning in hell right now for leaving me and the kids. Damn, kids went off to him they were so weakened by that blood. But I stayed faithful, even though he went off. My son stayed with me and I wish I could say he was a good boy but he married that awful wife of his and she doesn’t like me very much. I had been telling my son not to make the same mistake as me that he should never marry her that he’d get stuck, but no he was blinded. I’ve been thinking of talking to my pastor to see if maybe there was a way for him to get a divorce from a woman that keeps a boy from his mother. Seems to me that God would be on my side in that one. Oh but she has him blinded, when I said, to him that I would be looking into that boy got all sad and said that he loved her, but I just know he’s lying to me, that she’s got him all twisted. Oh looky there one of them damn kids is walking up to my berry bush, I swear to you I gotta get me a b-b gun so I can shoot all those damn animals, and that means the dogs and cats too!

Time write- 10 minutes

It has been awhile since I have done a ten minute write. This one was pretty raw, I needed to force myself back into the practice of just writing for writings sake. I had no preconceived idea of what I was going to write or where it was going. Raymond Carver said, that was what it was all about, you put down one sentence and then you put down the other, you don’t think of where it is going. Granted I think in a formulated style of writing you think about it more, but that is why there is a formula. This story may seem really disjointed or out there but , like I said , I was just writing one sentence after the next. I haven’t even read it myself yet. I’ll read it right after I finish this sentence.

Kicking through the doorway there was a spiral of light it had reached onto the carpet like a straight line of dust. It was clearly visible this light and the cat had found the perfect spot of warmth in which to sleep. I was weary, my throat dry and my feet ached, it had been a long day. My fingers felt like they were about to bleed from all the cutting and weeding in the yards. Not my yards, their yards, yards’ of the people who live in the surrounding valley away from this dingy and dank apartment where I live. This cliche of the inner city. There is still a stench in the hallway from the man who had died a week ago. His smell will linger for a life time I think. And to think the whole time I had thought it was rotting vegetables from the asshole hippie kids that had been living upstairs. Every day they’d throw their “compost” out the window and into the dirt alley way in between the two buildings. That’s not compost you assholes, I would yell. Those fuckers and their all night wrestling matches. I bet the smell was outrageous for them, after all, they lived two doors down from the guy. Dan, my buddy, who lived across from the guy said, after a few days he just knew just knew the guy was dead. Imagine, dead and no one even notices you are missing. Poor guy had been melting, literary melting, for three weeks before anyone checked in on him, and if it wasn’t for the heat, he may have been in the room decomposing for longer. Dan said, he talked to the chick in the bio-gear and she had told him that the guy was so decomposed that they had to scrap him off the mattress. Brutal. I think that is going to probably happen to me too. No kids no spouse  just me alone, parents are dead, shit, if I were to quit my job and just die no one would look for me, well maybe Dan for going out to get a beer or something, but I sure as hell am not that far away from an ending like that. Gives me the shivers, and honestly breaks my heart. I didn’t want to be that sad guy, but here I am man, and I don’t even know how I got here.

When I get home I like to slowly clean the dirt out from under my nails you know take a file and just scrap the dirt like I’m peeling the earth out from under the root of a tree. I find a deep satisfaction from this action.  I’d say it has become my meditation and I think that at one time a half hour passed by with me cleaning the dirt out from my nails. I read somewhere that this deep concentration was something like zen. I do read.

The Girl with The Bright Red hands another ten minute write

I don’t often do a ten minute write directly from my head to the computer, sometimes it doesn’t flow as well from my mind to my fingertips as well as it does to the paper. This is one of those rare occasions. I guess I should insert a reminder here, these are not polished stories, far from it, these are freewrites straight from my head to the computer. Sometimes they are transferred from a notebook but I don’t edit any of them. Not because I think I am some amazing writer who can get a perfect story in one shot, but because this is all part of the experience of writing. You start with an idea and you go back to it or you don’t. Granted, all writers are different, but this is how my mind works, ideas and bursts of stories and then a real lack of follow through. I think at this point I should start going back through some of these stories and actually work on one or two of them. If I worked on all of them I would actually have a collection of shorts stories. Since I have been neglecting this blog, I wanted to get something down, hence another ten minute freewrite, but I think it is time to start some workshopping.

The girl with the bright red hands had come walking up to me. She sang a song something out of tune, something like a blues tune, something deep and low. She kept her hands in her pocket but I knew that the were red I knew that they were the color of scarlet and was deathly afraid of her afraid that she might touch my skin.

Jeremy Lamb, who lived around the corner from had told my brother and I that the girl’s mother was a witch and that it was because of all of her sins that her daughter was born with those crazy hands.

What kind of sins? I had asked.

The whore kind. He had said

You mean that she had done it with lots of men? My brother asked.

Hundreds. Jeremy said. And she done it with the devil.

This made us cringe. In all the pictures or paintings that I had seen of the devil, were of a man thing with legs of horses and cloven feet like pigs and the long pointy black beard of a goat and the sharp long ears of a Doberman pincer and the black horns of a bull. Not something I would want to do it with, if I was going to do it with anyone. I was too young to do it, but I knew what it was, or at least I had some sort of an idea what it was, well, I knew you pressed your body next to someone’s body really hard and something was supposed to happen, what happened I wasn’t sure, my brother had a better idea, but he wasn’t telling me yet, he said when I was twelve he would tell. I had shivered at the idea of the girl’s mother doing it with the devil, with his pitch forked tail and his long claws and his red red skin, red like the fire engine that my dad rode in with all the other fire engines, and his skin as hot as fire. He must have forced her mother to do it because no one in their right mind would want to pressed up hard against fire. When I had thought about how her mom must have been forced and that the girl had been pushed into the world without any love I started to feel bad for her and for her mom. I knew I wasn’t supposed to but, somethin’ just made me feel awful about the whole thing. Jeremy and all the other kids would make fun of her call her devil hands or lobster claws or the nicer kids would just call her the girl with the red hands.

She was always humming something deep and bluesy. I knew it was blues because my dad loved the blues he would play his records every time he would come home, he’d put on some Blues album and then dance slowly up behind our mother and press against her and swing her into him and she would always push him away with a whispered, not now, the kids, and she’d giggle. I had liked when she would giggle. She doesn’t giggle much now and we never can play the blues now that dad is gone. She never talked to anyone, so that was why it was weird the day that she had come walking up to me after school, humming that song. I was in a different school from my brother, he had just gone into high school and I was still in grade school. I used to have a lot of friends but for some reason I wasn’t much into any of those kids anymore, I wasn’t sure why but I didn’t feel like hanging out with anyone after school, and since my brother wasn’t around I would just hang out by myself, before heading home. I wasn’t much into going home anymore either. Neither was my brother, the house was too dark now. Our mom, she hadn’t gotten out of bed for almost two years, and we just didn’t like being there in that coldness. I liked to walk through the old orchard by my house, it was filled with apples and peaches, in the summer when it would get warm the fruit would heat up and the air smelled like pies. I would get so hungry just walking through the column of trees. There would be fruit in the fall and in the summer and flowers in the spring and frozen stumps and crooked gnarled branches that looked like old fingers, but never in a scary way but like they wanted to hold you, although some looked like giant spiders jumping into the air. It was my favorite place to be. My brother had told me since the old farmer had died that the family sold the land at that they were going to tear it all out and make some apartments or something. If my dad was here he would have been so upset he would want to stop it but he probably wouldn’t be able too, you can’t stop progress my mom would say, now she doesn’t say anything, and he can’t. I guess it is better that he can’t see it taken away because it would probably break his heart.

The Abonne’

This five-minute write is based off an old story idea I have had in my head for a couple of years, ever since I saw The Dancer exhibit. There were paintings from Degas, Forain and Toulouse-Lautrec. One of the subject matters of the paintings were the lurking men in top hats, patrons of the dancers, called Abonnés. The abonné had access backstage during and after the dance productions. They often supported a dancer as a patron and this was a part of the young ballerina’s survival, since most dancers made very little, barely enough to eat. Many of the young girls mother’s found these wealthy men as the only help for themselves and their daughters, of course the price most often came in sexual favors forcing the young ballerina’s into a high society form of prostitution. The demand for female ballerina’s was so high (in France during the late 1800’s) that male dancers were often excluded from the stage and the male parts were performed by a female dancer dressed as a man.

In order to do any justice to this story I would need to do far more research than what I have, but as of now I have only thought of it as a short story.

The Abonne´

Giselle’s feet were aching. She loosened the satin pink ribbon from her ankles and with the palm of her hand she eased her heel out of the slipper.

“He is looking at you.” Sophia whispered into her ear.

She did not look up. Her shoulders heaved with pain and exasperation as she removed her cramped toes from the remainder of her shoe. Stains of blood were beginning to seep through the threads of her wrap.

Sophia draped her arm around Giselle’s waist. They were seated together under the dancers bar in the far corner of the classroom.

“You need new shoes,” She whispered.

“I know.” Said Giselle, “but we can not afford them.”

“He can.” Sophia nodded at the man standing in the corner of the room. He was tall with long legs like lamp posts and a round hard belly that bulged like he had shoved a ball under his shirt to make children laugh. His face was round with thick tuffs of hair growing out of the sides of his jowls.

“Why wont you look at him?” Whispered Sophia. “He obviously is interested in you and he can help you.”

“He is old Sophia, he is an old man. He is older than my father.”

“He is also richer than your father.”

Giselle sighed and began to unwrap her throbbing foot. As the binding loosened the blood rushed into the toes with a pin pricking pain. Sophia’s mother stood chatting with the abonne‘ smiling and gesturing to her daughter.

“It looks as if your mother is vying for your attention.” Giselle said, not looking at Sophia.

“Oh.” She said. She removed her arm from around Giselle’s waist to pluck at the gossamer fabric of her dance skirt. “You need him far more than me.”

“I don’t need him.” Giselle snapped at her.

“You do look at your feet, how will you dance tomorrow?”

“I don’t need him. I don’t need any of them. My feet will heal.”

“Giselle…”

“No, I will find a way. When I am old enough, I will find a way.”